It was a typical Spring day in May of 2007 and Rosie Lawrence followed her usual walk to school from her Springfield Gardens home. In an unimaginable twist of fate, a car lost control and jumped the curb, pinning the seventh-grader against a pole. Rosie suffered a fractured pelvis, ruptured spleen, lacerated liver and all bones in her left leg were crushed and would require extensive skin grafts to cover them. Though she was thankful her little girl survived the horrible ordeal, Monica Phillips, Rosie’s mother, was fearful that her young daughter who once loved to tap dance, would never walk again. That’s when Rosie was brought to St. Mary’s, where she spent the next several months receiving intensive medical and rehabilitative care. The staff at St. Mary’s were determined that Rosie would walk again with time, rehabilitation, and encouragement. A student in the talented and gifted program at Rosedale’s Public School 149, Rosie’s trademark determination and drive shone through and she began her arduous journey towards recovery.
In that fragile time, Rosie and her mother leaned on St. Mary’s for support and they were warmly embraced. Every step for Rosie was a painful one, but with St. Mary’s on her side, she kept going. Rosie’s persistence became the backbone of her recovery.
In a miraculous turnaround, just a few months after arriving Rosie took her first steps holding only her therapist’s hands for support. As Monica watched her daughter carefully stride down the halls of St. Mary’s, she knew she was blessed to have found such an amazing place with such talented and devoted staff members. Each day Rosie grew stronger and walked farther. She was soon able to navigate stairs and even play Nintendo Wii for extended periods of time while standing—without her walker. Rosie was soon walking without any assistance and upon discharge, she was able to walk out of St. Mary’s with an encouraging smile on her face. Though she was happy to be returning home, Rosie would also miss her new “family” at St. Mary’s. During her months of rehabilitation and recovery, Rosie had become a role model for the other children at St. Mary’s and enjoyed being the big sister. St. Mary’s really has a touch for creating and reuniting families.
To commemorate her courage and remarkable recovery, Rosie was named Grand Marshal of the 5th Annual Walk for St. Mary’s Kids and Family Fun Day at Belmont Park. Exactly one year after her tragic accident, Rosie led 3,000 Walkers including Darelle Revis of the NY Jets, Senator Frank Padavan, Councilman Tony Avella, and her St. Mary’s “family” in a victory walk to help raise funds and awareness for children with special needs.